It is a commonplace saying, but one that most of us ignore: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This applies in spades to a proposal under active consideration by the school board in Virginia's Loudoun County. It would use taxpayer funds to create a charter school to equip the children of that Washington exurb with enhanced skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines. Ostensibly, they will thus be equipped to compete successfully in the fields expected to be at the cutting edge of tomorrow's workplace.
What makes this initiative, dubbed the Loudoun Math and IT Academy, too good to be true? Let's start with what is acknowledged about the proposed school.
The academy's board is made up of a group of male Turkish expatriates. One of them, Fatih Kandil, was formerly the principal of the Chesapeake Science Point Public Charter School in Anne Arundel County, Md. Another is Ali Bicak, the board president of the Chesapeake Lighthouse Foundation, which owns Chesapeake Science Point and two other charter schools in Maryland. The Loudoun Math and IT Academy applicants expressly claim that Chesapeake Science Point will be the model for their school.